By Fakhri al-Arashi
The oil pipeline in Wadi Rassb was sabotaged last night by unknown gunmen in Sah district. This is the second time that a pipeline has been targeted in Hadhramout in less than a week.
Sources say that the sabotage comes as a direct result of the killing of tribal leader Sheikh Abdullah Ahmed Bin Qairan at a checkpoint after an armed standoff with security forces who attempted to take his and his bodyguards’ weapons.
Clashes eruptted last Friday between Yemeni soldiers who confronted armed tribesmen blocking access to a damaged oil pipeline killed four people in the central province of Maarib, sources said.
The army attacked the tribesmen, who preventing repair workers from reaching the pipeline were blown up two weeks ago in the area of Wadi Abaydah, said the local and tribal sources.
In the ensuing fighting, the army using shells and Katyusha-like rockets caused the death of at least three tribesmen, as well as an army colonel, the sources said.
The 420-kilometre (260-mile) pipeline links the Safir oilfields to the Ras Issa terminal on the Red Sea, near the city of Hodeida.
Attacks on oil and gas pipelines in Yemen are frequent, and Oil Minister Ahmad Dares said this week that sabotage had cost the country $4.75 billion (3.5 billion Euros) between March 2011 and March 2013.
On the other hand, the Executive Director of Aden Refinery Company, Pro. Najib al-Awaj, emphasized halting the work of the refining unit in the refinery from Saturday, the 4th of January, because the lack of local crude oil (Maarib’s oil), resulting in the repeated attacks on the main Oil pipeline in Maarib governorate.
In a statement transferred by Newspaper Khalig, Al-Awaj explained that impeding the refining won’t affect the situation of oil derivatives in the local markets, since there are enough oil reserves to cover the local markets for the upcoming three months.
Militants blew up the major oil pipeline in Hadhramout governorate on Saturday December 29th, 2013, senior government officials said. The attack halted oil production, and crews worked to fix the line, which links the Masila oilfield to the port in Shihr terminal (al-Dhabwah).
The militants planted explosive devices under the pipe in the Urf Valley of the southern Hadramout province.
Yemen crude oil exports are the mainstay of the impoverished country’s economy, and halts in production pose a serious threat to the stability of five international oil companies Total, Dove, DNO, Calvalley and the local operator of the pipeline Petromasila. The vandalized pipeline transports more than 100,000 barrels per day.
Yemen oil infrastructures have increasingly been the targets of attacks over the last year. Lost oil production due to pipeline attacks cost the government more than $1 billion in 2012, and cost the government even more in 2013.
The Hadhramout Tribal Alliance has rejected the accusation that it bombed the oil pipeline. In a statement released by the tribes, it said these acts are not part of the people in Hadhramout morals and it is not in their agenda.
“It is the gangs of oil in Sana’a, because it is just like them, and they are trying to frame the tribes of Hadharmout to give an excuse to attack.”